NEW YORK – Chris Cuomo told CNN viewers Monday that he wasn't an adviser to outgoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, “I'm a brother."
Then he detailed the advice he gave him — including to resign.
Both the network and its “CNN Prime Time” host have faced criticism for his interactions with his older brother, who announced last week that he would resign following a state attorney general's report detailing sexual harassment accusations against him.
On Monday, back from vacation for his first day on the air since Andrew Cuomo's announcement, Chris Cuomo addressed the issues for what he said would be the last time.
“I tried to do the right thing and I just want you all to know that,” he said.
Following a May report in The Washington Post that Chris Cuomo had joined in strategy calls with a group of his brother's advisers when the harassment allegations surfaced, CNN called it inappropriate. Cuomo said that it was a mistake and said Monday he did not do it again.
The network did not comment further when details of those early meetings emerged in the attorney general's report, and has not disciplined him publicly.
“I wasn't in control of anything,” Cuomo said on the air. “I was there to listen and offer my take. And my advice to my brother was simple and consistent — own what you did, tell people what you'll try to do to be better, be contrite. Finally, accept that it doesn't matter what you intended, what matters is how your actions and your words are perceived.”
While he never imagined he would have to do it, “I did advise my brother to resign when the time came,” he said.
That advice apparently came after the attorney general's report. The Post said in May that when the charges first came up, Chris Cuomo urged his brother to take a defiant position and not resign.
Chris Cuomo said he never reported on his brother's situation for CNN and never attempted to influence coverage of the situation by others at the network. He made note of his brother's appearances on his show for interviews at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year — an exception to the policy that he not report on his brother — but said they were “short-lived.”
He said he knew there would be a time his brother would be held to account, and “I could not do that.”
“It's never easy being in this business and coming from a political family,” said Cuomo, son of the late Mario Cuomo, a three-term New York governor.